Freedom is…

Today I read this story, “Two Reasons Why Obama Thinks Religious Freedom does not Apply to Business” from Catholic Online.  Here’s the link to the story:
http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=49151

I remember the time when almost all employers provided “free”/no extra cost  health care coverage to employees.  It was a “given.”  Then something changed.

Health care costs began to sky-rocket and some employers began to charge fees to employees for health care coverage.  Discussion and debate about why health care costs sky rocketed and why employers became the “middle men” for providing health care would really be informative in helping us to shape health care insurance and the provision of health care in the U.S.  Unfortunately, the process became partisan politics and the experts/policy wonks in D.C. hijacked the entire process.  We seem to have short memories in this country.

Please don’t think that I am reminiscing about the “good ole days” and how things used to be and should be now.  No, that’s not my point.  Instead, when I read about a company like Hobby Lobby who pays for their employees’ health care and decides that they want to customize their health care plan the way they see fit, I see clearly the ways that government being in charge of health care and many other life decision-making options in our lives leads us down a dangerous path.

I equate this to the “no tolerance” policies of many Boards of Education in cities and counties across this country that have children expelled for having any type of medication in their possession or for bringing a toy gun to school or any other “no tolerance” decision that leaves out discernment and wisdom in decision-making.  When we decide to allow government, policy experts/wonks, and politicians who are not statesmen and stateswomen to make decisions based on “no tolerance” and strict legislation, we are going down a dangerous pathway.  Gun control laws and lack thereof fall into this category as far as I’m concerned.

My Christian faith reminds me that Christ gives us freedom.  That freedom is not cheap, and it requires critical thinking , discernment and wisdom.

I long for the day when we could have the freedom that bears on the really difficult discussions that need to take place that could bring light and solution to the problems behind sky rocketing health care, people who use guns to murder, and using the resources we have in ways that solve problems instead of adding to and creating more problems.  I have not yet seen any solutions from D.C. and our political leaders that I resemble this kind of decision-making.

Freedom is costly.  Most of us refuse to pay the price of freedom.  We want someone else to be responsible for solving our problems.  May God help us to be truly free.

 

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Freedom is…

  1. Good thoughts. Would you also agree though that zero tolerance rules are fairly well defined, and most institutions do a good job making it clear. Furthermore in the gun and medical examples school boards can overturn local school decisions. We’ve all heard the specific examples of where the system failed, and it is also true that we in no way can show how it worked.

    I think in the case of Hobby Lobby we have something interesting going on. In essence they should not provide certain health care benefits because it is against their conscience. What if they decide, insert any minority or typically discriminated class here, should not be in any of their leadership positions? The fact is they are asking for an exemption from the law of the land. I believe it is a public stunt. Any decent lawyer should advise them this is not a defensible position as they are a for profit company.

    (It is ironic that religious institutions that take in millions of dollars are also permitted to discriminiate against race and sex.)

    I completely agree there should always be a due process that contains wisdom. At the same time I also hold that the government has to contain our worst vices like murder and bigotry.

    • Liveemergent,
      I believe there is a role for government, and I believe that role needs to be more limited than it is currently. Yes, there is a need for some government regulation, however, legislating morality and ethical behavior is not possible. We have a track record to prove that point in this country. Prohibition, in my opinion, is an example. I believe health care will prove to be another one.

      I agree that Hobby Lobby is a for profit company. My point is centered on the reality that the discussion of health care, gun control, mental health, and an entire host of public policy issues is being addressed from a policy wonk/legislative and political partisan perspective. Making public policy decisions from the “long view” and for the overall good of people has been tossed.

      Yes, zero tolerance issues that are “absurd” always get media attention. Having five children go through public education, having taught in public and private schools, having spent years in community, leadership and small business development as a public service and outreach faculty, and now as an ordained minister I have witnessed up close and personal the many ways that secular for profit and non-profit businesses and organizations are much better than government in addressing issues–not always–not perfectly–but still much better than the federal government.

  2. I disagree with legislating ethics.and morality, because I don’t think you believe that. Laws are designed to clear the way of vice in order to have a just and free society. Laws against rape, murder, theft, speeding, and the like are designed to allow everyone to live in harmony. Of course there come a point where laws can restrict freedom and justice in which the laws must be changed.

    What is interesting is in these days somehow we believe the private sector serves the public good? Since when? In fact by law companies exist to do and have one responsibility: make money. Everything else is just designed to make us believe that they have the common interest of the people. While the federal government does have a lot of power we also are dealing with a very large county, in the face of globalization, and the power of multinational companies. What is interesting is that the 2008 bubble burst was due to the lack of morals, denial of facts, and flippant lack of empathy by Wall Street. As far as the government is concerned: we put them their. The people did not regulate the government by paying attention to what was going on. Instead they voted on party lines. Wall Street strategically put in place heads of the financial side of the government to De-regulate banks. The protections that we learned from the first depression were taken out, and 6-8 years later: BOOM. It happens again.

    I’ve digressed from the Hobby Lobby discussion though. I would say that as an American majority we’ve decided that health care is a personal choice. That personal choice should not be tampered with by private or public sectors. Hobby Lobby is attempting to deny that choice, that by law, has been given to women. The real issue is not abortion but whether a company can deny a choice protected by law. The owners of Hobby Lobby knew that they would have to follow the laws of the land when they entered into business.

  3. The first sentience is a mistype, It should read as: I disagree with your position on the legislating of ethics and morality, because I don’t think you believe that.

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